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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Film Don't Lie | Jojo Johnson

November 24, 2020
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When you’re 8-0 and the number two ranked team in the country, everyone expects new commitments to be blue-chip prospects with offers from elite programs across the country. That’s why there is some understandable hesitation from fans when they see an offer go out to a local prospect who only recently started to emerge with Power 5 offers.

I know that people see where JoJo Johnson‍ is from and his ranking and immediately jump to conclusions. When that happens, I do what I always do: I throw on the tape and see for myself what kind of prospect Notre Dame is getting.

Johnson is a very good athlete who likely projects to corner for the Irish. He’s a playmaker and there’s a lot to like about his game.

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 170

Projected Position: Athlete

ISD Grade: 88 (3-star)

National Average Grade: 86.6 (3-star)

What he does best:

I know that top end speed has been a question with some of the corners Notre Dame has taken in the last couple of cycles. That is not the case with Johnson. He can flat out run. His speed and acceleration are very good to great.

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He displays fluid hips and can flip and go in man coverage against vertical routes.

For someone who is more of a star on offense, he’s more than a willing tackler. He’s aggressive attacking on the perimeter and doesn’t wait for contact.

via GIPHY

He knows how to find the football. His ball skills are excellent and he can track the ball well.

via GIPHY

His recognition as a defensive back is much greater than I expected. He sees and explodes to the ball. He had six interceptions as a junior.

via GIPHY

Johnson is a playmaker on both sides of the ball and on special teams. This gets overlooked often as programs fall in love with physical traits, but Johnson makes plays in multiple ways for his team.

via GIPHY

What he needs to improve:

His size is a question mark. Is he a legitimate 5’11”? He can’t improve by magically growing a couple of inches, but he clearly needs some time to develop physically to be able to battle on contested catches.

He is very raw with his technique. He’s primarily an athlete making plays who is inconsistent in and out of his back pedal. In many ways he’s going to be a ball of clay for Mike Mickens to work with. He won’t be able to rely on athleticism alone at the next level.

What’s his ceiling?

It’s easy to question taking Johnson over holding out for some other higher ranked prospects, but there is something to be said about Mickens’ ability to evaluate. He recruited similar athletes at Cincinnati who had less impressive offers than Johnson and those players have been great for the Bearcats.

Mickens also had recruited Johnson back when he was still at Cincinnati so there is a familiarity there.

It’s also worth noting that he is considered a football junkie (his father is a coach) and that he has not specialized at one position. Those things matter and I value them as an evaluator when assessing his potential.

There is no doubt that Johnson is someone who can develop into a starter at cornerback or possibly in the slot at Notre Dame. He’s a Power 5 level athlete who deserves the uptick in offers he’s received. He’s not likely to be someone who competes early in his career for playing time, but he has a ton of room for growth with his game that could see him make moves for the Irish.

 
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